Travel agents are pretty fantastic people (if I do say so myself). If you need a refresher on why, check out our blog about “Why Use a Travel Agent.” That being said, there is one thing we can’t do: read minds. I ordered that crystal ball, but it must have gotten lost in the mail. Consequently, in order to help you plan your dream vacation, we need a little bit of help from you first.
Let me illustrate what I mean. It is not uncommon for us to receive emails like this, “Hey! Me and my family want to take a cruise in October. What can you do for us?” That’s it. That’s all the information we are given, and although we appreciate that you are thinking of using us, it creates a bit of a problem. Namely, we don’t know your budget, details of your family or expectations. For this specific example, there are literally hundreds of cruise options each month that will completely change depending on your personal circumstances. Consequently, we felt it would be useful to our guests to learn more about what they need to think about in advance of reaching out to your travel agent. Trust me. It will save both you & us a lot of time.
CREATE A BUDGET
The absolute most important thing you can do as you start thinking about a vacation is to establish a budget. I remember as a kid, my parents worked really hard, but we didn’t always have a lot of excess money for trips. So, they would look at their budget and say, “Okay, how far can we get with how much money we have?” Some of our best trips were the simplest, and our family never went into debt for vacation. You may have a different philosophy as you plan your budgets, but regardless, it is VERY important that you establish what you are willing & able to spend upfront.
As a travel agent, this helps us because we will only present you with options that fit within your budget. There are fantastic places to stay and things to do at EVERY price point. Our job is to find what works for you & your family & we are happy to do that.
As you create your budget, we recommend considering at least these five basic categories:
- Lodging (Telling us what you’re willing to pay nightly helps a lot!)
- Attraction Tickets
- Transportation (Airfare, Rental Car, Trains, Taxis/Rideshares, etc.)
- Incidentals/Spending Money
Keep in mind, you don’t necessarily have to have all the money in the bank when you book your trip. Depending on how far out you are planning, you may have the option to put a deposit down when you book your trip & then the remainder is due a few weeks before you travel. A lot of families use this option to pay incrementally and/or save up for that final payment while still booking in advance & getting what they want. This may help you spread the financial burden of your trip out over several months, or even a year or more. Regardless, you still need to budget in advance and be prepared for what you can legitimately come up with in the timeframe you have & then share that with your travel agent.
WHEN ARE YOU GOING & WHO IS GOING WITH YOU?
This seems like such a simple thing – but we all know it’s not. Work schedules, health issues, personal budgets, etc. can really make a difference on when you go on vacation & with whom. However, it is in your best interest to try & nail this down as best you can before you request a quote.
As a travel agent, we want to give you accurate information, but prices vary widely depending on when you go & who you go with. For example, ticket prices change based on if someone is a child or an adult. Additionally, a lot of hotels charge extra if there is a third or fourth adult in the room. Plus, hotels & attraction ticket prices can vary day by day, so even shifting a trip by just a few days can make a difference in the price you pay. Now to be fair, you may have some flexibility in the dates you’re looking at, and you just want to go when it’s the least expensive. That’s totally fine! However, if you can narrow it down to a specific few weeks prior to requesting a quote, that would go a long way in helping us get you accurate information.
IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS & WANTS
We’ve all been there. It’s the age-old question: “Do I need this or do I just want this?” As with most things in life, it is good to identify your needs & wants when you travel & to communicate those to your agent. For example, perhaps someone in your party uses a wheelchair & NEEDS an accessible hotel room – tell us up front so we can make sure that happens & we are only quoting you rooms that meet your needs. Or perhaps one of your friends NEEDS to have their own bed, so even though there are only four of you, you need three beds – tell us so we can quote you only for the rooms that meet your needs. Other needs/wants that you may want to consider may include things like: hotel type, breakfast availability, free parking, distance to attractions, pools, types of views, etc. Please tell us your expectations up front so we have the chance to meet them.
That being said, we are all familiar with the phrase “Managing expectations.” That is our job too. As previously mentioned, our mind-reading abilities haven’t come in yet, so if something is important to you, tell us! We will do our best to find what meets your requirements while still fitting within your budget. But notice that I previously mentioned that there is a difference between needs & wants. Please keep in mind that depending on your budget, you may have to determine what is a need verses a want & then be a little flexible in that regard. For example, an accessible room may be an absolute need, but the only place that has an accessible room doesn’t have the free parking you wanted. What are you willing to compromise on? Do you have any flexibility in your budget to get what you want? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself in advance & then tell your travel agent up front. We will do our best to give you everything you need & want, but we also respect your budget enough to recognize sometimes compromises need to be made. If they are articulated in advance, it makes the process easier for everyone.
USE THE GET A QUOTE FORM
At Woodbrey Family Travel, we have built a “Get a Quote” form that you can access on our website. We highly recommend using this form when making requests. We have designed it so that it asks a lot of the questions we need answered prior to getting you an accurate quote. Additionally, we’ve left space for you to leave comments & tell us anything extra we need to know, like budgetary constraints or your needs & wants. We hope you can recognize how thinking about these things in advance & communicating them to your travel agent up front will help everyone involved. We look forward to working with you & appreciate that you would consider how you can help us, help you!
As part of the multi-year expansion of the Disneyland® Resort, Disney is upgrading, improving and adding new parking and transportation enhancements that have been long envisioned for the resort. The centerpiece of this plan is an all-new parking structure to be built on the current Pinocchio surface parking lot next to Mickey & Friends.
This new 6,500-space structure is designed to dramatically improve parking and traffic flow throughout the resort. It is expected to significantly speed up guest arrival by providing a 60 percent increase in the number of access lanes and adding additional parking capacity on the west side of the resort.
The additional parking capacity and access lanes will streamline vehicle arrivals on the west side of the resort and eliminate backups onto city streets. In addition, the tram boarding area will be reconfigured to enhance the transportation experience for guests parking at both the new structure and Mickey & Friends.
Woodbrey Family Travel
We are excited to announce the 2017 Disneyland Resort vacation packages are now open for booking. Each package will include accommodations at one of the three Disneyland Resort hotels, or at a nearby Good Neighbor Hotels. Packages will include souvenir tickets with Magic Morning Entry, Magical Extras Savings Card, Disneyland Photo Memory, ESPN Game Card and Burger, as well as a collectible pin, lanyard and luggage tags per guest. All kids traveling will receive autograph books and pens as well.
Please contact us for additional information or to book your next Dream vacation to Disneyland.
Throughout the years, I have been lucky enough to stay in all three Disneyland Resort Hotels. If you are looking for that extra special something on your next Disneyland vacation, this is it! Below you will find a list of the many benefits of staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel. Trust me when I say, Disneyland can get more magical than it already is, and staying at one of these hotels can make a big difference!
1. Guests have quick and easy access to the Disneyland parks and Downtown Disney – they are literally steps away!
2. Disneyland Resorts are the top rated hotels in the Anaheim area – All Disney Resorts are AAA Diamond rated.
3. Resort rooms are much nicer and more spacious than the surrounding hotels.
4. You can request a wake up call from your favorite Disney characters.
5. Step into the storytelling and magic of Disney everywhere you go – Disney touches are in your rooms, the lobby, pool area, restaurants, even in the carpet and wall paper! You will be completely immersed in the magic!
6. Get Disney’s legendary quality services and help 24 hours a day – If something goes wrong or you have questions, a Disney cast member will be right there to help. Disney has very high standards when hiring their cast members. They are polite and always willing to help. They will go the extra mile!
7. Each day guests have the opportunity to take advantage of the Early Morning Extra Hour into the parks. So, with a five day park ticket guests will be able to enter into the parks an hour before the parks open to the general public for five days. This is particularly nice for Disney’s California Adventure Park. As you may know, Radiator Springs Racers attraction is extremely popular and the line is always long. Having the extra hour in the morning not only saves you time, but within the first hour you can ride this attraction several times. We usually ride it three times during this hour. The same can be true for any of your favorite attractions at either park.
8. Resort pools are larger and are nicer than the surrounding area hotels, plus, each resort includes fun slides.
9. Each of the Disney Resorts have several activities that take place every day that the whole family can enjoy including: arts and crafts, special showings of Disney films, pool parties, computer games, and dinner at the fun-filled child activity center. You don’t get anything like this at the other hotels.
10. Use your “Key to the Magic” card (room key) to charge meals and merchandise purchases right to your room.
11. Have merchandise delivered right to your hotel with Package Express Services at no extra charge.
12. If you’re staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa you have a private entrance into Disney’s California Adventure. In the afternoon, only Disney Resort guests can use this entrance.
13. When staying at one of the Disney hotels you can enjoy many of the amenities from all three hotels including the Mandara Spa at the Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
14. Guests have access to special tours available exclusively to Disney Resort guests (Experiences change pretty regularly. Ask the front desk when you arrive what they are during your stay).
15. Music from the fireworks and/or World of Color can be listened to in each guest room. If your room is facing the parks, you can watch the shows from your hotel.
If you are planning a trip to Disneyland, please contact me for more information and deals.
– Cody Woodbrey